Charles Bassey

Western Notes: Doncic, Tenzer, Watson, McGee, Len, Spurs

Luka Doncic isn’t doing himself any favors with his constant complaining to the officials, Tim Cato of The Athletic writes. The Mavericks superstar was tossed from Slovenia’s quarterfinal loss to Canada in the FIBA World Cup. Doncic’s technical fouls in the NBA have risen in each of his five seasons. Cato notes. Doncic has publicly acknowledged over the years he needs to pipe down, but his actions haven’t reflected it. He’s a master at drawing contact but complaining about non-calls serves no useful purpose, as Cato writes.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Nuggets’ new G League general manager, Ben Tenzer, believes forward Peyton Watson will blossom in his second NBA season, he told Bennett Durando of the Denver Post. “(He) has all the potential in the world. I think it starts with his defense and his energy,” Tenzer said. “He’s such a unique player with his size and his ability to cover the court. His shot-blocking ability. I think we were able to see it a little bit when he played with the Nuggets toward the end of the season, how good he can be. So I think for him it starts with the defensive side. The offensive side will come because of his natural ability to be able to handle and attack the rim.”
  • Alex Len and JaVale McGee are expected to make the Kings’ opening night roster and compete for backup minutes at center, James Ham of tweets. That doesn’t come as much of a surprise, considering they both have guaranteed contracts. That also means Neemias Queta and Nerlens Noel, who have partially guaranteed deals, will essentially be competing for the final roster spot, assuming Sacramento decides to carry 15 players.
  • The Spurs have 18 players on guaranteed or partially guaranteed deals. So who will be the odd men out? The Athletic’s John Hollinger and Kelly Iko explore that, plus other Spurs-related topics. Khem Birch and Charles Bassey appear to be the most vulnerable, according to Hollinger. If San Antonio is unable to deal one of its guards, then either Doug McDermott, Reggie Bullock or Cedi Osman could be bought out.

Spurs’ Charles Bassey Diagnosed With Patella Fracture

MARCH 15: The Spurs have confirmed Bassey’s initial diagnosis of a non-displaced patella fracture and he has been ruled out for the remainder of the season.

MARCH 14: Spurs forward Charles Bassey has a non-displaced fracture of his left patella, according to an initial diagnosis, Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News tweets. Bassey will undergo additional testing on Wednesday.

He suffered the injury during the first half of the team’s victory over Orlando on Tuesday.

Coach Gregg Popovich said he learned of Bassey’s diagnosis at halftime, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News tweets.

“Somebody hit me with that at halftime,” Popovich said. “Poor guy, he was just learning how to play.”

Bassey has appeared in 34 games this season, averaging 5.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per night. He had a pair of 14-point games against Houston earlier this month.

Bassey signed a four-year contract with San Antonio earlier this month, though the last two years are non-guaranteed. Bassey joined the Spurs in October on a two-way contract after being waived by the 76ers.

Bassey had a leg injury that kept him out of action for a chunk of time in January and February. He suffered a tibial plateau fracture during his college career at Western Kentucky.

Southwest Notes: Jones, Langford, Vassell, Bassey, Grizzlies, Green

There’s optimism that the Spurs will get some key players back shortly after the All-Star break, head coach Gregg Popovich said on Wednesday (Twitter link via Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News). According to Popovich, Tre Jones, Romeo Langford, and even Devin Vassell are all getting close to returning.

Jones has missed six of the Spurs’ last seven games due to left foot soreness, while Langford has been out since January 23 with a left adductor injury. As for Vassell, he underwent a procedure on his left knee in early January and has been on the mend since then. All three players were part of San Antonio’s starting five before being sidelined.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Charles Bassey‘s new four-year contract with the Spurs has matching $2.6MM cap hits in its first two seasons, both of which are fully guaranteed, Hoops Rumors has learned. Bassey’s third- and fourth-year salaries are each $2.5MM and are non-guaranteed. His third-year salary would become guaranteed if he remains under contract through August 1, 2024 and his fourth-year salary would be guaranteed if he stays under contract through August 1, 2025.
  • When Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. were named All-Stars for 2023, it the first time in franchise history that two Grizzlies players had made the All-Star team in the same season. As Mark Giannotto of The Memphis Commercial Appeal writes, the achievement serves as validation for the franchise that the right core pieces are in place, even if the club is still working on the complementary parts.
  • Kelly Iko of The Athletic examines Jalen Green‘s development and explores how important the growth of the former No. 2 overall pick is in the Rockets‘ long-term plans. As Iko details, Houston wants to take a significant step forward next season — adding another lottery talent in the draft and having up to $60MM+ in cap room will help, but the team also needs its own young players to take a leap.

Southwest Notes: Irving, Mavs, Kennard, Bassey

Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving was a late addition to Wednesday’s injury report due to low back tightness. He was first listed as questionable, but was downgraded to out a couple hours later (Twitter links).

Wednesday is Dallas’ final game before the All-Star break, as the team won’t play again until February 23. However, Irving was voted to the All-Star team for the eighth time last month — it’s unclear if the back issue will prevent him from suiting up for the exhibition event.

Christian Wood also saw his name pop up on the injury report due to an illness. He was originally considered a game-time decision, but he’ll be active tonight in Denver, the Mavs announced (via Twitter).

Here’s more from the Southwest:

  • In an appearance on Get Up, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (YouTube link) said he believes “it’s more likely than not” that Irving will re-sign with the Mavericks as a free agent this summer. Wojnarowski points out that Dallas gave up a pretty significant haul to acquire Irving from Brooklyn and the Mavs have a history of paying players that want to play for them.
  • The Grizzlies traded for Luke Kennard in order to bolster their three-point shooting, but it might be difficult for him to get a significant amount of playing time, writes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. As Cole notes, replacing Dillon Brooks with Kennard in late-game scenarios would help offensively, but hurt the team’s defense. Kennard played 21 minutes in each of his first two games with Memphis.
  • Spurs center Charles Bassey recently received a promotion to a standard contract, signing a four-year, $10.2MM deal, including $5.2MM guaranteed. Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News (subscriber link) reports that Bassey’s contract features non-guaranteed salaries in years three and four and he was paid $3MM up front for the 2022/23 season. The 22-year-old called it a “surreal” experience. “I’m not going to lie, it felt good,” Bassey said. “I feel like the Spurs believe in me and believe in what I bring to the team. They trust me, and I just appreciate that.”

Charles Bassey Signs Four-Year Deal With Spurs

4:08pm: Bassey’s deal with the Spurs is now official, the team confirmed in a press release.

3:23pm: Spurs big man Charles Bassey isn’t just having his two-way contract converted into a rest-of-season deal with the team. He’ll sign a four-year, $10.2MM pact with San Antonio, agents Adie von Gontard and Daveed Cohen tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Bassey, who joined the Spurs in October on a two-way contract after being waived by the 76ers, has appeared in 25 games for the club so far this season, averaging 4.7 points and 5.3 rebounds in 13.6 minutes per night. The 22-year-old was the 53rd overall pick in the 2021 draft.

Bassey is in position to take on a more significant role following the trade that sent starting center Jakob Poeltl to Toronto. A report on Sunday indicated that he was expected to be promoted to the standard roster to fill the open roster spot created when Stanley Johnson was waived.

The Spurs still have a ton of available 2022/23 cap room and are well below the salary floor, so they’ll be incentivized to front-load Bassey’s contract. We don’t know the exact structure yet, but San Antonio could construct a descending four-year, $10.2MM deal that is worth Bassey’s minimum (about $2.26MM) in year four.

According to Bassey’s agents, the contract will include $5.2MM in guaranteed money, which suggests it’ll probably be guaranteed for this season and 2023/24.

Spurs Waive Stanley Johnson, Will Convert Charles Bassey To Standard Contract

The Spurs have released veteran forward Stanley Johnson, the team announced today in a press release.

Johnson signed with San Antonio in mid-December and averaged 5.8 points and 3.2 rebounds off the bench in 30 games while shooting 45% from three-point range. Despite being drafted in 2015, he’s only 26 and could spark some interest among contending teams on the buyout market.

Johnson was a part-time starter last season with the Lakers, who have a roster spot open after making several moves at the trade deadline. Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report isn’t sure if L.A. can bring back Johnson because he was traded to the Jazz in August and subsequently waived (Twitter link), but Pincus believes the language in the collective bargaining agreement is murky enough that it might be worth a phone call to the league to verify.

The Spurs intend to use their roster opening to convert Charles Bassey‘s two-way deal to a standard contract, tweets Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. San Antonio signed Bassey after the Sixers waived him in October, and he’s averaging 4.7 points and 5.2 rebounds in 24 games.

NBA G League Announces 24 Players For Next Up Game

The NBA G League announced today that G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson and Timberwolves/Iowa Wolves forward Luka Garza have been named team captains for the NBAGL Next Up Game, which will take place in Salt Lake City during All-Star weekend.

While the exhibition match isn’t technically being called a G League All-Star Game, that’s essentially what it is. The 24-player pool was selected by a fan vote and by the league itself.

Henderson averaged 21.2 PPG, 6.0 APG, and 4.3 RPG in six Showcase Cup games (28.5 MPG) before missing time with an injury. The guard, widely projected to be the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft, has registered 17.7 PPG, 5.7 APG, and 4.5 RPG in 11 regular season games (29.8 MPG) since returning.

Garza, meanwhile, has been dominant at the G League level while playing for the Timberwolves on a two-way contract. He averaged 29.8 PPG, 9.2 RPG, and 3.2 APG on .628/.500/.794 shooting in nine Showcase Cup games (34.4 MPG) and has been boosted those averages in two regular season games (32.5 PPG, 12.0 RPG, 5.0 APG) for the Iowa Wolves.

Here’s the full list of players who will take part in the G League Next Up Game:

(* Players marked with an asterisk are on two-way contracts with NBA teams.)

As is the case with the NBA All-Star Game, the team captains – in this case, Henderson and Garza – will select their 12-man squads in a draft. The draft for the G League Next Up Game will take place on February 14.

Southwest Notes: Brooks, Mavs, Wesley, Bassey

The Grizzlies blew out the Bucks by 41 points on Thursday night, holding stars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton to 22 total points on a combined 6-of-25 shooting. After guarding Middleton for much of the night, Grizzlies wing Dillon Brooks was asked if he ought to be in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year and replied that he “100%” should be, according to Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal (Twitter link).

“I don’t get the steals or the big-time blocks, but I’m going to give fits to whoever I got that night,” Brooks said.

Defensive Player of the Year voting typically favors big men, so if a Grizzlies player receives serious consideration for the award, it might end up being Jaren Jackson Jr., who is averaging 3.3 blocks per game. Still, Jackson has missed some time and it’s Brooks who is tied for third in the league in’s defensive win shares stat at 3.8.

Let’s round up a few more Southwest notes…

  • Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has grand ambitions for a new arena in Dallas if the state of Texas legalizes gambling and sports betting, writes Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (subscription required). “My goal, and we’d partner with Las Vegas Sands, is when we build a new arena it’ll be in the middle of a resort and casino,” Cuban told Townsend. “That’s the mission.”
  • Spurs rookie guard Blake Wesley will be available on Friday for the Austin Spurs’ game in Mexico City, tweets Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. A knee injury has sidelined Wesley since October 30 and limited him to just two NBA appearances so far this season, but it sounds like he has been cleared to return.
  • Waived by Philadelphia during the preseason, Charles Bassey made his first career start on Wednesday for the Spurs and admitted after the game that he was “a little bit” nervous. As Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News (subscription required) details, Bassey got into early foul trouble and mishandled a couple passes from Doug McDermott in the pick-and-roll. “He just flat-out dropped a few of them; he told me that,” McDermott said. “I told him, ‘I am going to continue to throw it to you, because you are setting great screens. You are either going to have a shot or you are going to have a dunk. So don’t overthink it.'”

Spurs Notes: Bassey, Bates-Diop, White, Murray, Primo

Last month, Charles Bassey was trying to keep his job with the Sixers, but he’s been given a much larger role since joining the Spurs, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. On October 13, Philadelphia waived the 22-year-old, who had fallen to fourth on the team’s center depth chart after the signing of Montrezl Harrell. Eleven days later, Bassey got a second chance with San Antonio on a two-way contract.

“He knows his role,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “He rebounds, blocks shots, runs the floor, and he does it with a lot of energy.”

Bassey has more than doubled his playing time in his second NBA season, averaging 6.1 points and 6.6 rebounds in 16.3 minutes per night. He only appeared in just 23 games as a rookie, but he’s still thankful for the opportunity he got from Sixers coach Doc Rivers.

“Me and Doc, we were good,” Bassey said. “Doc was one of the coaches I was excited to play for, but everything didn’t work out. Both these coaches (Rivers and Popovich) have coached great guys. Doc coached ‘KG’ (Kevin Garnett in Boston) and Pop has coached Tim Duncan. Philly gave me the opportunity to play in this league, and I am grateful to that organization. But playing for the Spurs right now is a dream come true.”

There’s more from San Antonio:

  • Since joining the Spurs last season, Keita Bates-Diop has learned to be ready for anything, Orsborn adds in a separate story. That was useful Thursday night in Sacramento when he found out shortly before game time that he would be starting because Keldon Johnson was sidelined by ankle soreness. “I am always constantly ready when I hear a guy is maybe in, maybe out,” Bates-Diop said. “My mind is always ready regardless.”
  • Watching Derrick White and Dejounte Murray square off in Wednesday’s Celtics-Hawks game was a reminder that the Spurs have moved on from what appeared to be their backcourt of the future, notes Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News. San Antonio traded White to Boston in February and dealt Murray to Atlanta in June, and the Spurs are now building around Johnson and Devin Vassell.
  • Although Dr. Hillary Cauthen has reportedly settled her lawsuit against the Spurs and Joshua Primo, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Department is continuing its investigation of the case as it considers possible criminal charges, Orsborn tweets.

Southwest Notes: Jackson Jr., Anderson, Doncic, Bassey

Jaren Jackson Jr. is close to making his season debut for the Grizzlies, according to Damichael Cole of the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Jackson was listed as doubtful to play against Washington on Sunday, then was declared out. He was listed as out for all previous games this season as he rehabbed from foot surgery. Jackson recently started playing in 5-on-5 situations during practice.

Memphis’ backcourt of Ja Morant (ankle) and Desmond Bane (toe) also missed the game, Ava Wallace of the Washington Post tweets.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Former Grizzlies forward Kyle Anderson signed with the Timberwolves as a free agent this summer but the veteran forward is rooting for his former team when they’re not playing his current one, Evan Barnes of the Memphis Commercial Appeal writes. “They’ve taken it to a whole new level. Those guys put the work and they work very hard so I’m always happy for them on their journey for sure, watching from afar,” Anderson said. “So it’s pretty awesome to see them do big things.”
  • Luka Doncic‘s usage rate is higher than any other player in the league, prompting Tim Cato of The Athletic to consider whether Doncic can keep going at this pace. The Mavericks star admitted after a loss this week, “I’m just feeling more tired on the court these last two games than anything,” and his shooting percentages in the fourth quarter are much lower than in any other quarter. Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today explores the same topic, noting that Doncic is playing a career-high 36.9 MPG and has a usage rate of 39.14%, which would be the third-highest all-time behind Russell Westbrook’s 41.65% in 2016/17 and James Harden’s 40.47 in 2018/19.
  • With Zach Collins out approximately a month with a leg fracture, Charles Bassey has an opportunity to get rotation minutes at center for the Spurs, Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express News points out. “He kind of looks the part,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “He doesn’t look like a deer in the headlights or anything like that.” Bassey signed a two-way contract with San Antonio in late October.